By Scott Calvert
1:54 PM EDT, May 23, 2013
It’s been a busy year so far for Audrey Dyer-Brown, collections supervisor at the city Department of Public Works. Her job duties have ballooned — and so has her paycheck.
By early May, she’d already made 87 percent of her yearly salary, even though the year was just one-third over. Thanks to a whopping 538 hours of overtime in that span, she took in $22,280 above her regular pay, giving her gross income of $37,500 by May 8, according to figures provided by the city.
Her regular salary for the entire year: $42,900.
“I’m not milking the clock, I’m working very hard,” she said this week, noting that she has worked most weekends since January because her weekdays are spent fielding calls about people’s water bills.
The numbers give Dyer-Brown a distinction. The records show she has made a higher share of her salary via overtime than any other city worker outside the Police Department. The records exclude police salaries because city lawyers said those had to be “scrubbed” for reasons they didn’t detail.
Dyer-Brown is hardly the only city worker amassing hefty overtime. Fifteen others were paid at least 70 percent of their salaries through early May, and about 260 had already received half or more.
A majority of the 10,800 municipal employees in the database had made around 35 percent of their salaries, which tracks with the calendar.
City officials say they’re watching overtime to keep costs in check.
“Agency overtime is closely scrutinized through the CitiStat process and through the Bureau of Budget Management and Research,” said Ryan O’Doherty, a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. (The mayor had been paid $55,200 of her $159,400 salary, or 35 percent.)
Using city data, The Baltimore Sun ranked all non-police employees by the share of their yearly salary as reflected in gross pay as of May 8. The three topping the list all made more than their salaries. But they had unused leave when they quit working for the city and were entitled to be paid for it.
The other 17 employees on the top 20 all landed on the list thanks to overtime, the city says.
Three library security officers were represented. “All three of them have to work at the Central Library [and] at several branches from time to time,” said Roswell Encina, spokesman for the Enoch Pratt Free Library. “Security and safety of our library patrons and staff are a priority for us at all Pratt Library locations across the city. We are aware of the overtime that these officers have received.”
Two other departments — Transportation and General Services — each had three staff members in that upper OT echelon. Public Works had the most, with eight. Those employees “stepped up when others could not,” Department of Public Works spokesman Jeff Raymond said in an email to The Sun.
“We try to spread overtime opportunities as we can,” he said, “but cannot force people to take the opportunity.”
Dyer-Brown’s job duties grew because she was given supervision for “the Account Analysis and Adjustment unit in addition to maintaining supervision of the Auditing Section,” Raymond wrote. The efficiency move was aimed at cutting huge backlogs in water bill-related issues and helping to speedily “manage complex adjustment processes.”
In the process she has gone from supervising four employees to 17, Raymond said.
Most of Dyer-Brown’s extra pay came as straight overtime, which pays an employee 1.5 times their salary for every hour worked in a week beyond the usual 40. She logged 421 hours of overtime. But she also received 117.5 hours of double time, which kicks in whenever an employee works a seventh straight day.
Add those hours to the 740 or so of regular work time during that span, and she put in around 1,278 hours — or nearly 69 hours a week on average.
Dyer-Brown, a 12-year veteran of city government, says she does work a lot. Her weekdays have been largely consumed with handling calls from city water customers who have questions or complaints about their bills. The city has been trying to address billing errors — a widespread problem documented by The Sun in recent years.
She says that has left the weekends as the only time for her to make needed headway on various projects, including a large one she was given in January that involves processing water bill accounts.
On a typical Saturday, she says, she’ll get to her office in the Abel Wolman Municipal Building on Holliday Street around 5 a.m. and stay until 4 p.m., when she leaves for a weekly pinochle card game. Most Sundays she’s back at work.
She recently enjoyed a rare break, taking off Friday through Sunday for her daughter’s senior prom at Dunbar High School. And soon, she says, the overtime will dry up. Her big project is nearly done.
“I’m going to have it completed in no time,” she said.
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun